Sea Grant research to inform the future of sustainable marine aquaculture

tomales bay oyster company
September 19, 2019
Media Contact— Katherine Leitzell / kleitzell@ucsd.edu / (858) 246-1661

Sea Grant today announced $16 million in federal funding awards to support 42 research projects and collaborative programs aimed at advancing sustainable aquaculture in the US. (*Commitment includes projects up to three years long, pending availability of federal funds)

“With our 2019 investments, we are building on investments by Sea Grant and NOAA over the last few years to address critical gaps in information, understanding and connectivity of science to industry,” said Jonathan Pennock, Director of the National Sea Grant College Program. “These investments are critical to advancing U.S. aquaculture in sustainable, thoughtful ways using the best science and talent across the country.”

The funded projects belong to one of three federal funding opportunities identified by Sea Grant as current areas of need for U.S. aquaculture.

Advanced Aquaculture Collaborative Programs: Ten projects will develop integrated teams of professionals focused on accelerating the development of specific aquaculture topics. These teams will establish a collaborative program to plan for and appropriately focus the next generation of aquaculture investments while enhancing the synthesis and transfer of past research advances to the industry.

Exploring New Aquaculture Opportunities: Sixteen projects will focus on the development of new, and at times higher-risk, topics for which minimal foundation currently exists to inform and focus potential future investments.

Social, Economic, and Behavioral Research Needs in Aquaculture: Sixteen projects will address critical gaps in social, behavioral, and economic knowledge as it relates to U.S. aquaculture and the communities impacted and served by it.

Investment in California aquaculture

The research projects announced today include five involving California researchers, and California Sea Grant  extension specialists will serve as co-PI’s or partners for four of these.

“California Sea Grant provides an important connection between science and stakeholders, whether that’s government agencies, legislators, or industry” said California Sea Grant Director Shauna Oh. Based up and down the California coast, from Eureka to San Diego, the program’s extension specialists work in a unique space where they conduct research, education, and outreach to serve the State of California.

The projects listed below include California researchers and/or California Sea Grant extension specialists. For information on all projects funded by Sea Grant in this call, download the full list (PDF).

Assessing policy barriers for mariculture in the United States while accounting for fisheries context

Researchers at UC Santa Barbara, Aquarium of the Pacific, Florida State University, and California Sea Grant will receive funding for a new project to explore the factors driving adoption of sustainable marine aquaculture under changing policy and fisheries conditions nationwide. Led by UC Santa Barbara researcher Halley Froehlich. Project summary.

Aquaculture 2019/T1: Economic and environmental sustainability decision-support tool for fish-free aquafeed

Led by Anna Kapuscinski, University of California Santa Cruz, this project will develop an open-access decision-support tool that allows users to assess if alternative aquafeed ingredients meet nutritional requirements and promote growth of the farmed organisms, ensure high quality of the final edible product, have low environmental impact, and compete with costs of conventional aquafeed ingredients. California Sea Grant Aquaculture Specialist will serve as a partner on the project. 

Fisheries interactions & carbon offsets: Assessing existing and potential seaweed aquaculture

Led by Steve Gaines at the UCSB Marine Science Institute, the is project will explore two questions related to large-scale seaweed production in the US. First, how will seaweed farms interact with wild fisheries in a region, both positively and negatively? Second, what roles can seaweed cultivation play in driving environmental benefits through carbon sequestration?

West Coast aquaculture collaborative

Washington Sea Grant (WSG), Oregon Sea Grant (OSG), and California Sea Grant (CASG) proposed to form a collaborative unit to engage their science and education partners, industry and resource management agencies in tackling complex, region-scale barriers to sustainable aquaculture on the West Coast. 

Fish, farms, and shared futures: Defining public perceptions of land-based aquaculture to support sustainable decision-making

California Sea Grant, California Aquaculture Association, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Humboldt State University, and Nordic Aquafarms will serve as partners on this grant led by researchers in Maine. The project focuses on public perceptions of aquaculture and engaging with local communities.

Further information

Aquaculture in California

About California Sea Grant

NOAA’s California Sea Grant College Program funds marine research, education and outreach throughout California. Our headquarters is at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego; we are one of 33 Sea Grant programs in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Commerce.